sins of the father
When I was younger, I tried my damnedest not to be like my father. After years of being forgotten by him, he finally drank himself to death–his one last act of abandonment. I took it as a personal eff you, spending the next almost twenty years of my life trying to be everything he wasn’t. Namely, a fuck-up.
And then I just sort of forgave him. Mostly because I walked a few miles in his shoes, and I really wanted to understand it. Hell, I needed to understand it. I couldn’t keep walking through life being the exact opposite of someone who didn’t exist anymore.
That sounds easier than it actually was–but that, basically, is what it came down to. It took years of me crying every day–struggling like I was in some emotional bootcamp. But, for the most part, I healed a good chunk of it. Sometimes, the chunks resurrect themselves, but–most days–I’m at peace with my father and what he did.
The funny part about it all is that my plan to be nothing like my father utterly failed. I am almost his carbon copy in so many ways. I don’t drink like he did, but I struggle with other things–things that won’t land you in rehab, but can ruin your life. Control. Perfectionism. That kind of crap.
Anything you focus on grows wings and attaches itself to your back. And pretty soon, it decides where you fly.
My father, despite his addictions, was actually a good man. So, I’m pretty blessed to be like him. I’m smart like him. I have his sense of humor. I am creative and expressive. I can cook. Just like him.
As I get “healthier” emotionally, I find more him in me. The more true I am to myself, the more I discover his give no fucks attitude about existing. He never apologized for who he was. He probably should have sometimes, but I still admire that about him. I find there’s also a morality in me that I’ve always had, but it’s stronger now…rooted in directness and truth. Odd that my father–who was so good at hiding and covering things up was also the most honest man I’ve ever known. Maybe because he was so acquainted with the lies.
I’ve more recently discovered that I am also a commitmentphobe like my father–which shocked the Hell out of me. As my birthday’s been approaching, I’ve been reflecting on life and what I want out of it. I’ve been desperately bored lately, and that’s just inexcusable to me. I mean, I keep myself busy–but I don’t feel challenged…except emotionally–and most of that comes from inside me. I’ve been looking into things to do…courses, volunteer commitments, new opportunities…people. I’ve been trying to expand my horizons. But I find myself feeling apathetic. I’ll get excited initially, and then my interest wanes. I wish this was a new thing, but I can see it in my life over and over again–especially since Mama died. And I can’t really say why I just lose interest–because I still care about it–but it just stops being there. And then, I act recklessly and selfishly–putting myself and my weird whims over everyone else. Which might be a good thing…I don’t know…but I hate how it makes me feel. I hate that it makes me feel unreliable and that it causes me to disconnect from people I want to keep in my life.
I’ve always prided myself on being there for my friends, family, and co-workers. On being reliable. Sometimes, I haven’t been emotionally available. Sometimes, I’ve been unable to do and say what needed to be done and said. But I’ve been there. And I’ve been (mostly) honest about my capabilities–even if I struggled to express them adequately.
It’s a big deal to me to be there. A lot of my issues with other people stem from feeling like I didn’t matter–that someone not being there was a confirmation of that.
As my birthday draws closer, I’ve noticed myself isolating myself. I’ve noticed i’ve said things to push people away. I’ve started lowering expectations to protect myself from disappointment. I never expect much to begin with, so that’s saying something. Last year, my birthday sucked. I can deal with being alone nearly any other day, but my birthday means something to me. And it’s one of the days when I can either believe in the goodness of people or have all those doubts confirmed. Last year, the doubts were confirmed. And I was really hurt by all of it. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. Just two words.
Problem was: I didn’t tell anyone they hurt my feelings. I just did my protective thing–went off alone, had a terrible time, and then held grudges. I still hold grudges. But I still haven’t told anyone that.
On some level, I know I’m protecting myself…that I’m trying to control everything once again by keeping everything smaller than it needs to be. And it frustrates the Hell out of me that I’m like that and can’t seem to see what I unconsciously do. So, I guess, my work for the next year is going to be to commit to things. Which means I’m probably not going to be very spontaneous and will live a lot in my head. But I think that’s what I need.